Spanish version

JUDICIAL AFFAIRS

Varela confirms meeting with judicial appointee

The president denied, however, ever promising him a seat on the bench.

Spanish version

Temas:

President Juan Carlos Varela has confirmed that he held a meeting with the lawyer Alberto Cigarruista, who requested a post in the cabinet.

He denied, however, that Cigarruista was promised an appointment to the Court of Auditors.

On Monday, the Supreme Court elected Cigarruista to the Court of Auditors, with five of the nine judges supporting him. A day later, Cigarruista, in an interview with Telemetro, said that Varela had brought up the possible appointment at the meeting about the cabinet post.

Varela has rejected this characterization of events. Instead, he said that, at the meeting, he suggested that Cigarruista, rather than seeking a ministerial post, compete for an appointment in the legal field.

"I cannot give something that is designated by the court," he said. "I will make an appointment to the Court of Auditors at a later date."

Varela said the meeting with the lawyer was solely held to discuss the makeup of his cabinet, and not for any other possible appointments.

"I have nothing to do with something that is a decision of the court," he said.

There are three judges on the court who serve 10-year terms. They are selected by the legislature, the executive and the Supreme Court. Varela is slated to make his appointment in two years.

The situation has caused Varela to be criticized for allegedly interferring in court affairs, an accusation that he himself made against his predecesor, Ricardo Martinelli.

Cigarruista in an active member of the same political party as Varela and his son, Luis Alberto Cigarruista Vargas, was appointed vice consul to Argentina.

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